SEO usually stands for "Search Engine Optimiser" or "Search Engine Optimisation". Search Engine Optimisation is important to anyone who wants their website to rank well in major search engines. SEO is a complex process. Outsourcing your site to a SEO specialist or firm can be a good solution if you are busy and do not want to pay the penalty of being blacklisted by search engines in case you have done something "unethical" unknowingly. This article outlines some important criteria to look for in a good SEO specialist or firm.
Do Not Pretend That You Know Everything
Learning Search Engine Optimisation can be easy because there are alot of articles in the web. Many people, after reading a few SEO articles claim that they are experts and know what is going on. I heard of stories of clients telling their specialist "What you are proposing is wrong. It should be done this way...". Such statement can put off your SEO specialist easily because what is the point of asking for help if you think you already know everything. The first step in seeking help is not to pretend that you know everything. SEO is a complex science and there is much more than what it appears to be.
Nobody Can Guarantee No.1 Ranking Within A Short Time
The main benefit of getting good ranks in search engines is that you need not spend huge amount of money in advertising. It is a good long term investment. If someone can guarantee No.1 Ranking in Google, you have to be skeptical about it. However, it is possible if the keyword is not competitive. I am saying that it can be done. For example, it is much easier to improve the ranking of a website if the keyword of the site is "Train Design" as compared to the keyword "Web Design" because the later is much more competitive. It is also easier to improve your ranking in MSN and Yahoo as compared to Google especially if your website is new. Therefore, becoming no.1 in Google within a week is highly unlikely. A typical Search Engine Optimisation work takes at least a few months to see real results.
Good Keyword Research Strategies
The first step in the SEO process is always keyword research. The specialist will recommend that you optimise your site for certain keyword(s) that will bring in good traffic. From the previous "Train Design" example, even though it is possible to be say no. 1 in google for that search term, does it really matter? How many people are searching for that term? This is the first and most important step in the whole SEO process. A good SEO will do a thorough analysis of the keywords to optimise for your website.
Ask For Opinions
If you have decided to use the service of certain SEO Specialist, ask around in forums or look for reviews of the specialist or firm. Many people who had experience with the specialist can tell you if he is good and whether the charges are reasonable. Do not believe in testimonials unless it is from someone that you can verify. Testimonials are everywhere and anyone can fake them easily.
The Search Engine Optimiser's Homepage
Visit the homepage of your specialist and check its Google Page Rank. You can do so easily by installing the Google Toolbar. Alot of people argue that the homepage of the SEO specialist is not important but I choose to differ. I reckon that the Google PR for the homepage of a good SEO should be 6 and above. If the Homepage Google PR of your specialist is 1 or 2, then you need to think twice about using his service. Google PR is not everything but it is a good gauge of the capabilities of your Search Engine Sepcialist.
Search Engine Optimisation techniques are easily available in the internet. Doing it yourself can be fun and interesting. However, the downside is that you might accidentally do something wrong and pay a huge penalty. Being blacklisted by Google is almost irrecoverable. A good Seach Engine Optimiser or firm can save you alot of headache and time which will help you reap good rewards in a long run. There are many other ways to choose a good Search Engine Optimiser other than those listed in this article. For example, the linking strategies..etc. I found the most reliable way is still through the words of mouth.
About The Author
Bernard Peh is a great passioner of web technologies and one of the co-founders of Sitecritic.net Internet Articles. He works with experienced web designers and developers for more than 5 years, developing and designing commercial and non-commercial websites. During his free time, he does website reviews,freelance SEO and PHP work.